Hypothesis: cyclical histogenesis is the basis of circannual timing

Journal of Biological Rhythms
David G Hazlerigg, Gerald A Lincoln


Circannual rhythms are innately timed long-term (tau ≈ 12 months) cycles of physiology and behavior, crucial for life in habitats ranging from the equator to the Poles. Here the authors propose that circannual rhythm generation depends on tissue-autonomous, reiterated cycles of cell division, functional differentiation, and cell death. They see the feedback control influencing localized stem cell niches as crucial to this cyclical histogenesis hypothesis. Analogous to multi-oscillator circadian organization, circannual rhythm generation occurs in multiple tissues with hypothalamic and pituitary sites serving as central pacemakers. Signals including day length, nutrition, and social factors can synchronize circannual rhythms through hormonal influences, notably via the thyroid and glucocorticoid axes, which have profound effects on histogenesis. The authors offer 4 arguments in support of this hypothesis: (1) Cyclical histogenesis is a prevalent process in seasonal remodeling of physiology. It operates over long time domains and exhibits tissue autonomy in its regulation. (2) Experiments in which selected peripheral endocrine signals are held constant indicate that circannual rhythms are not primarily the product of interacting ...Continue Reading


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Methods Mentioned


Related Concepts

Ultradian Cycles
Oscillators, Biological
Feedback - System Communication
Seasonal Variation
Light Cycle
Cell Death
Cell Differentiation Process
Cell Division

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